Hilton Worldwide is wooing millennial travelers with a new social media campaign that blurs the line between marketing and content creation. Launched last week, the Canopy By You program enlists tastemakers living near Hilton’s Canopy hotels to share their favorite neighborhood destinations on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Promoting deals on Facebook has been a source of success for Hilton, which tied with Marriott to gain the top spot in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels. Today’s travelers draw more inspiration from social networking sites than search engines or travel review sites, making use of Facebook and Twitter crucial to a hotel’s digital success. All 50 brands in the L2 Index have Facebook pages, most of which are seeing rapid expansion in terms of community size, as seen below.
But now, global chains like Hilton and Marriott are going beyond conventional social media outlets in a bid to create less explicitly branded content. Marriott recently launched the hotel world’s first Snapchat campaign and partnered with blogging platform Medium to produce a travel and lifestyle vertical, for which the hotel will only provide about 8% of the stories.
Marriott also launched its Content Studio in 2014. The studio produced popular videos like Two Bellmen, which features Hollywood actors and has garnered five million views on YouTube. These creative videos have far outperformed those released by other brands, as shown by this chart.